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Kasbah Aït Benhaddou

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43 reviews of Kasbah Aït Benhaddou

A Truly Surreal Experience


Imagine this. You're cruising along through the barren, rocky desert in the back of a dusty Mercedes taxi...no building, no trees, just nothing. After about 10 minutes, you follow the curve around a barren hillside and come across a verdant valley; a true oasis of trickling creeks and date palms and at the center of it all is the spectacular Kasbah Aït Ben Haddou like something out of a fairy tale. It's simply indescribable!

The Kasbah is more or less abandoned excepts for store fronts and a few cafés. You'll arrive in the town itself, but you need to cross the river to get to the Kasbah itself. First, follow the roads in town down to the river to get some amazing views of the Kashab head on, then head towards the concrete bridge (you'll see it) to cross into the Kasbah itself. There's no entry fee and you can explore the Kasbah at your leisure.

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Mud Castles

Ait Benhaddou is the most famous and probably the most representative Kasbah in Morocco. There's actually a path to follow to explore these mud buildings, some of which have been converted into very pleasant summer hotels. It's a UNESCO protected site, and previously received funding from a film, since famous movies have been filmed here, like Lawrence of Arabia, Jesus of Nazareth, and Gladiator. I think it was in the first movie where the front gate was charged in a scene and the gate exploded... no comments. At its feet lies the Oued Ounila, which is almost dry, but I guess that depends on the season.

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it has been used countless times as a movie set

The feeling of reaching Ait Benhaddou is that you have landed on a fantastic planet out of this world. The spectacular kasbah, which was built with mud and stones, miraculously remains standing as it did at the time it was inhabited. It is situated high on a hill. In Ait Benhaddou, the people that lived there were protected by high walls and spectacular towers. It is surrounded by the desert landscape of the Anti Atlas, the fortress is like a surreal image. So much so that it has been used countless times as a movie set. Within its walls they filmed both Lawrence of Arabia and Gladiator. Fortunately, when they are not filming here, the citadel is a very peaceful place.

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Ait Ben Haddou

Ait Ben Haddou is a typical settlement of southern Morocco (Ouarzazate province). The impression you get when approaching this fort is that you are stepping back hundreds of years into another world. The city is considered "heritage of humanity" and therefore tourists are nothing strange. It certainly makes for a worthwhile visit! In order to avoid the waves of tourists it is advisable to go in low season. At the entrance of the city there are many kinds of accommodation on offer but at exorbitant prices. My recommendation is to rather move on and sleep in another place.

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